AddThis SmartLayers

Former sub who spent 50 years at daily dies aged 75

A former chief sub-editor who worked at a regional daily for more than 50 years has died at the age of 75 after a short illness.

Alastair Clark joined The Scotsman as a teenage copy boy and worked his way up to a series of senior editorial positions until he finally left the title in 2008.

During his time at the Scottish daily, he was responsible for overseeing the computerisation of the title in the 1980s.

Alastair, who was also a keen musician, died on Sunday after a short illness and an obituary by colleague Fordyce Maxwell has been published in The Scotsman.

It said: “When he finally left The Scotsman in 2008, I wrote in the traditional front-page spoof for such an event that ‘more than 3,000 cursing journalists have suffered from his meticulous attention to grammar, spelling, censorship of rude words and insistence on correct titles for monarchy… he was the only man who cared whether diah…dior… diarr… whatever, was spelled correctly.’

“That was an affectionate way of saying thousands of journalists over the years had been grateful for Ally’s ability to spot errors of omission and commission, and to suggest changes.

“He was also a master of headline writing, especially during what he called ‘the best time of my journalistic life’ when in charge of the Opinion pages – columnists and editorials – of The Scotsman in the latter stages of his career.

He joined the paper as a copy boy while waiting for a place at Edinburgh University and remained there for more than half a century, apart from time doing national service.

Alastair worked his way up to hold a range of sub-editing positions at the title including sub-editor in charge of Scottish news, editor of the Financial Scotsman pull-out section and chief sub-editor, while also writing a music column from the 1960s.

He is survived by his wife Sandra and daughter Rebecca, son Michael and daughter Annie from his first marriage to Mary, and grandchildren Jamie and Arran.

One comment

You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • September 3, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Knew Alastair well during my 25 years at The Scotsman. Lovely bloke. He was in charge of familiarising journalist staff with new tech when first (crap) computers were installed. He gave each of us a password: mine was “Banjo”. I protested. “You know I hate banjos, Alastair.” Yes, he said, so it’s a word you won’t forget. He played jazz trumpet when younger, switching to alto sax. His brass teacher was disgusted. “Sax! I could play one with my posterior”, although he used a four-letter word beginning with “a”. Great journalist, great bloke, great loss. Tony Troon.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)